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Nursing Programs Provide Options in Hibbing

Created: 02/06/2014 5:49 PM WDIO.com

Thanks to a partnership with Mankato State University, Fairview Range, and the IRRRB, students at Hibbing Community College have even more opportunities for advancing their nursing careers.

Starting in the fall, students will be able to take classes to earn their Bachelor of Science degree, master's of nurse practitioner, and doctor of nursing.

For those already learning to be RNs in the two-year program, this news is exciting. 

"I'm really excited to not have to travel. The closest other options are Duluth or Bemidji. It's nice to stay here," said Crystal Schauer, who's in the RN program now. She graduates this summer.

Jeremy Alms added, "It's important for us get an education closer to home. It's also less expensive than a traditional four-year university."

And it getting those advanced degrees means job security as well.

"It's becoming an industry standard to move up to the bachelor's degree. Some places won't hire you unless you have more than a two-year degree," said Brad Lougee, President of the Student Nurses Association.

Fairview Range Medical Center is a partner with the program. Vice President Mitch Vincent said they addressed the potential shortage of care workers with the education leaders. He's hoping these degrees will lead to more people graduating in fields they need.

"Ultimately a nurse practitioner could see patients in urgent care and at our clinics on the Range," he explained. "We are always looking at ways to advance employees here, to help them grow in their careers."

Mankato State President Richard Davenport stopped on the Range Thursday, for a celebration for the collaboration on these programs. He told us over the phone that Mankato sees the benefit because they can expand their programs, and they are the ones who have the programs in high demand. 

Mankato State also is a partner with Iron Range Engineering, a ground-breaking, project-based program that is based in Virginia. "We had to go where the mines were, for this program to make sense," said Davenport.

The president of the Northeast Higher Education District, Dr. Sue Collins, praised Davenport for being devoted to economic development and the betterment of Minnesota. 

The stakeholders, including the IRRRB and lawmakers, attended a celebration at Valentini's on Thursday evening.

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